Premier Artist Interview: Beanie (Rudimental)
29 June 2015
Headlining the Other Stage at Glastonbury this past weekend, the energetic and vibrant Rudimental showed why they are fast-becoming festival favourites the world over. Ahead of their explosive performance we spoke to the band's charismatic drummer Beanie.
You’ve performed across a diverse array of genres, which influenced you the most?
Well, I grew up listening to a vast array of music , but mainly enjoyed experimental rock drummers when I started playing. I love math rock bands like Don Caballero, Hella and Oxxes. Zach Hill of Hella was a big influence early on for me. His unorthodox approach to syncopation always impressed me. I implement some of those technics in a lot of the music I play. I've combined this style with the live electronic approach of drummers like Andy Gangadeen to create the Rudimental drum sound.
When did drumming become a realistic career proposition for you?
I've always been playing in bands and also writing music. It's all I've ever wanted to do, so I would be playing in some capacity even if it wasn't a full time thing. My first pro gig was with Gabriella Cilmi. I had been touring with punk bands for a while before though, in my teens, slogging it in the UK and around other European countries - "toilet tours" as they say. SO MUCH FUN !!!
You’re known for your technical ability and high-energy performances, how often do you practise?
Well, I don't have space in my tiny room in London to home a drum kit, but as we are quite busy with Rudimental I get to do a lot of playing, so I get to keep on top of things with regards to staying active as a drummer. I use the old practise pad at home here and there though, jamming with hybrid rudiments. My main practice is before shows. I warm up for about 30 minutes beforehand - it seems long, but if you take it slow it's definitely beneficial for stamina purposes. Flamadiddles galore yo! I need to be limber as hell for this gig, trust me!
How did you come to join Rudimental?
I actually studied at university with Amir Amor of Rudimental and had been working with him on various projects over the years. He had asked me to get involved a few years back . After the first couple of shows I returned to a few previous gigs. After a while I was asked to return to focus on the new live show. The rest is history! I love my Rudi family, best gang of players to share a journey with. FACTS.
What’s it like to work with one of your greatest influences – Andy Gangadeen?
It's an absolute pleasure to work with Mr Gangadeen. They guy is so well mannered, inspiring, talented and encouraging. He has taught me a lot by allowing me to find myself within this genre of drumming. Our approach of fully live electronic drums is rarely used - he pioneered it really. It's great to be part of that with him. He is my brother/hero. That's a good combo .
Your kit set-up is quite unique, tell us more about its design.
My kit is Premier, we customised the tie-dye coating. My former drum tech Jim Macauley designed and wrapped them. I use Roland pads (4), plus a Roland pad bar and a V Drum bass pedal. Zildjian cymbals of course too. I'm a tie-dye boy, I love the vibrant colour.
What can we expect from Rudimental at Glastonbury?
Well, no bloody lightning again hopefully!! RAAAHTID, that was bleak last year! This time we have some real treats! New material, new production and more energy than ever.TUNE IN PEOPLE, we won't disappoint. YOU HAVE MY WORD, the Rudimental movement is real ;)
Finally what advice would you give to young drummers looking to follow your path?
Just keep playing I guess! Sounds like a cliché but its true. When I say this though, I mean keep playing LIVE. It's the best practice. You find yourself really discovering your playing potential more when you are in action and performing with other musicians. Also, try as many different genres as you can. Why not want to be the best you can at everything ay?! I learnt as much from playing basic eights with Miss Cilmi, than I did playing free jazz noise with Noon. Push yourself with versatility, add them strings to that bow. Most importantly, ENJOY YOURSELF! When you do others can see this and attention will follow. Much love, and keep that dream a-blazin!
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